Seminar with Jaap Van Der Wal
„Embryo in us”

About seminar

„Embryo in us”

A course with images and anecdotes trying to find an answer to the 'real’ questions about our prenatal embryonic existence.

Why a course about the embryo?

During the last decades scientist have brought to light may new facts and findings about our prenatal existence. Moreover techniques have been developed which enable us more and more to ‘manipulate’ and ‘create’ the human embryo (.a.o. IVF, cloning, genetic engineering). Those facts and those techniques evoke questions about what may or what may nót be allowed or permitted to do with embryos. However in spite of all this new knowledge and accomplishments the embryo still remains to many people a ‘far-away-story’. A lot of ignorance still exists about how an embryo looks like, in which way it exists, what an embryo in fact ís. From the part of so-called ‘regular’ biology and medicine usually a very specific view on the embryo is produced, mainly ‘colored’ by the predominating image of man and nature in the field of science and scientists. In the latter view the embryo usually is considered in a reductionistic way, i.e. as a matter of cells, tissues, genes and so on. In that view there is no room for wondering and for questions about the deeper meaning and sense of this phase of human existence. Whereas the embryo has a lot to tell (‘to the wise’) about the ‘true’ sense of our being human. The organizers of the course Embryo in motion want to inform interested people – in addition to the view and scope of regular medical biology – about the human embryo and want to do so from a point of view that leaves room for more spiritual aspects of being human and incarnation.

What is it about?

Starting with the great themes of being born and dying, of conception and the ‘beginning of life’, the human embryonic development during the first weeks will be followed by means of images, stories, lectures and reflections. Hereby the human embryo is considered to be a incarnating human being, that exhibits human behavior in gestures of growth and metamorphosis from the first moment of conception on. The (scientific) methodology applied in this approach is the so-called phenomenology. For this approach it is more or less essential to come into touch with the embryo rather than to look at or think about it with the detached attitude of the scientific onlooker. To feel with, to get in touch with the wonder, so to say, by the way of your heart feeling, without ‘loosing your head’! Because facts and biological data have to remain the base of a scientific approach. There will be searched for sense and meaning of the ‘sign-language’ that speaks from the dynamics and gestures of growth and development in the human embryo: WHAT are we in fact DOING when we (still) are an embryo?

Which questions are given a chance (a.o.)?

  • Where are we coming from? From our mother? From an egg? From heaven maybe?
  • What is happening in fact and in essence during a human conception?
  • How about ‘mind (spirit) and body’ during the process of conception and during embryonic development?
  • Is there a relation between being born and dying?
  • What is a man DOING in the period he/she exists as an embryo?
  • What about the ethical values and human dignity of an embryo?
  • Is the idea of incarnation in line and harmony with biological facts and data?
  • What might a human embryo tell about human evolution?
  • The view that human evolution is just a matter of hazard or of contingency, what has the embryo possibly to ‘remark’ on that?
  • What kind of attitude I like (or need?) to develop towards abortion, IVF, genetic manipulation and cloning of embryos, and so on?

For whom the course is meant?

There will not be started from the presence of specialized (fore)knowledge in the domain of embryology. The person who presents the course has a long experience in teaching and in explaining this sometimes difficult matter. The course is meant for everyone who likes to form a view and judgment about the sense of this ‘hidden’ phase of human existence. It is meant for the interested layman as well as for those people who have to deal with the embryo from a more professional scope like doctors, midwives, paramedical therapists, haptonomists and teachers. The ‘level’ of the course can easily be adapted to the background of the participants and can even been adapted specifically to given target groups.